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    I was wondering if we could start a thread where we all share ideas of activities that we do to practice and reinforce things like rhythm, pitch matching, etc? I feel like I’m doing the same old things and need some new activities to get excited about. I see my students every day, also, so they get tired of my activities a lot sooner than usual, also. I’ll start by sharing some of our favorites:
    *Poison Pattern or Rhythm : I write a rhythm or tonal pattern (solfege syllables) on the board. The students will echo me on every pattern, except for the one that’s on the board. If they do, then they are out and must sit down. (Management tip; If any student points or says that another student must sit down, then THEY are also out. I am the only one allowed to do that).
    * Popsicle Stick Rhythms: I pass out popsicle sticks and the students work in partners to “write” the rhythms (in quarter and eighth) that I say. Later, once they are comfortable, I’ll clap the rhythm and they will “write” it alone. I do assessments this way, as well.
    *Notation: I haven’t used this yet, but I plan on passing out paper markers (just little bits of paper) for them to do some sort of iconic notation to mi so and la on the floor in front of them. (2nd grade). They recognize the pitches on the staff (with lots of leading from me), but I want to see if they can hear that la is the higher note, so is the middle, and so on. I ordered some magnetic staff boards, so once they are familiar with notating a known song in some way, we might switch to those.
    *For reviewing a song: The Loud and Soft Game: I have a “hunter” or “huntress” that goes to the door and faces it. I give a bean bag to a student and then the class sings the song they are reviewing either softly or loudly. Softly if the student is far away from the bean bag, and Loudly if the student is close by. At the end of the song or verse, the hunter has to pick who he/she thinks has the bean bag. If they get it right, they get to pick the next person. If they get it wrong, then the actual person who has the bean bag picks the next one.

    I would LOVE to hear about any of your games/activities that you do with your classes!



    Hi Toni –
    Great idea! More people might chime in if there are different threads for the different topics you mentioned (pitch matching, rhythm reading, etc.).

    Here’s mine, though, that combines rhythm and solfege:
    Take a known song that has both the most advanced rhythmic and melodic concepts known to the grade level. After singing it through one time with words, sing it once with rhythm, then once with solfege. Then, have the class start solfege, but when the students are singing the song, give some sort of signal (clapping, tapping the board with a tuning fork, playing a triangle, anything) which is their cue to switch over to rhythm words. Switching from melodic to rhythmic work within the same song iis fun and challenging, and requires them to have pretty good literacy skills. For an extra challenge, switch between the rhythm and solfege more than once. And for management, allow one student who clearly is making strong effort to be the student in charge of the signal to switch. I find this works well with third grade on up, as a good way to practice literacy skills without spending a super-long time.

    Rhythm and Melody Bingo. You can buy these, but I made my own. I took four-beat patterns that are common in the songs that I teach, then constructed bingo boards on cardstock using those patterns. This allows me to play the game, but ask the students to identify the rhythm in different ways. From easiest to hardest:
    (1) I tell them the rhythm (or melodic passage – I use solfege, but you could use letter names, too)
    (2) I clap the rhythm, they have to identify it
    (3) I sing the rhythm on loo, they have to identify it
    (4) I sing the rhythm on words, they have to identify it

    It was somewhat time-intensive to create these, but was a good activity for me over Christmas vacation!

    Thanks for starting the topic!
    Christopher Roberts
    Seattle, WA
    Council for General Music Member-at-Large

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